Allotment Progress Pictures May Edition¬

A month sure does go quickly!  This is how the allotment has changed during May.  The first picture was taken on the 1st of May and the last on the 29th of May.

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It’s good to see there’s a lot more green now!  It was a cold start to the month but things are really getting going now the temperature has risen and we’ve had some fabulous sunshine.  In fact, my strawberries have finished teasing me with their ripeness and I enjoyed a tasty bowl of them at the weekend.  Yum!

First Batch Strawberries

Chelsea Inspiration

I’ve been watching Gardener’s World, mainly to try to glean some fruit and vegetable tips from Monty Don, but I’ve found that I’ve been watching more and more of the rest of the show.  So this year, I decided to watch the RHS Chelsea Flower Show for the first time.

One of the bits I especially enjoyed was the BBC Radio 2 Feel Good Gardens, which are five gardens designed around the five senses; taste, touch, smell, sound and sight.  They felt far more accessible than the impressive show gardens, after all I already have a taste garden!

The Jo Whiley Scent Garden inspired me to think about the scents I have on my allotment.   I have a wonderful selection of herbs and I grow sweet peas every year which have been very successful and fill not only my allotment but my home with their scent.

Sweet peaSweet Peas 2016

So to add to this I bought a Jasminum officinale at the weekend, the variety is Clotted Cream and it was grown locally.  Jasmine is at its most fragrant in the evening and since I’m often at my plot in the evening after work to water I thought it was a good choice.  Plus, when I’m not drinking coffee I’m drinking Jasmine green tea so it’s in keeping with my rule of using edible flowers on the plot.  (Although I’m not planning to make Jasmine tea!)

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Next job: creating an arch for it to grow up…

Refreshing the Herbs

One of the favourite parts of my allotment is my herb bed, partly because I have fresh herbs all year round and also because its established and low maintenance.

I recently found a picture of what it looked like in July 2015.

Herbs 2015(From the top; sage, fennel, thyme, parsley x2, bay, parsley, rosemary, chive, marjoram and dill.)

Fast forward to 2017 and you can really see how they’ve started to fill out the bed, the rosemary is huge!  It’s also evolved to include a few new herbs.

DSC_3450(From the top right; sage, fennel, thyme, curly parsley, mint basil, bay, coriander, rosemary and hiding behind the rosemary are chives, marjoram, flat leaf parsley and lavender.)

Thankfully, I didn’t have to do much to refresh the herb bed this year, just a bit of pruning and planting some fresh parsley plants.  I thought the original white planters from 2015 were looking tired and getting grubby but rather than replace them I bought a few pots of tester paint (£1 a pot from Wilko in Boathouse Blue), and spruced them up.  They look so much better now and the blue looks great against the deep green/purple of the mint basil which is just starting to come back after dying down for the winter.

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And in other news, I thinned out my spinach today and came away with the first crop of the year!  Spinach Crop

Allotment Additions

The main addition to my allotment this year is the plastic greenhouse.  It came from Wiko and I’m really happy with it so far. I’m determined to have some decent tomatoes this year and it will be really useful to have somewhere to put plants before planting them out, especially as its been pretty cold here recently.

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I had quite a bit of help from my parents (thank you!), Dad helped make the wooden frame and Mum helped with just about everything else.  It may seem like overkill to have a wooden frame inside but it can get very windy on the allotment, sheds have been moved (or even overturned!) in storms so I’d rather have too much extra stability than not enough.

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The first resident has already moved in; a Rapunzel tomato plant which promises cascading trusses full of fruit.  Fingers crossed!

Rapunzel 07.05

Allotment Progress Pictures

One of my plans for this year is to take pictures of my allotment from the same point on a regular basis.  I thought it would neat to see how the plot changes and grows over time.  Plus, its a real boost for the days where you don’t feel like you’ve achieved much to see where you started from because sometimes you just don’t realise how far you’ve come until you look back.

This is April’s gallery, the first picture was taken on the 8th of April and the final one was  last weekend, the 23rd of April.  A lot of structural changes this month!

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Pumpkin Delight

I brought this delightful vegetable home from allotment.

Pumpkin

It’s such a lovely pumpkin.  I’m quite pleased considering it’s the first time I’ve tried growing pumpkins.  They’re definitely going on the list of ‘Things to Grow’ for next year.  I think I might have a go one or two other varieties of squashes as well.

The orange beauty is 5.5kg.  So far it’s made two batches of Pumpkin Soup, a Pumpkin Risotto and a Pumpkin and Raison tea loaf from River Cottage Veg Every Day, which was lovely and very tasty (you can find the recipe here if you don’t have access to the book).  It’s one I’m planning to make again but with beetroot instead of pumpkin as that is supposed to create a purple marble effect in the cake which sounds fun.

I’ve still got about a quarter of the pumpkin left, not to mention the two other pumpkins still on the allotment and seven butternut squashes…

Any squash recipe ideas?

Broccoli – Old & New

In with the new…

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I’m growing a summer purple sprouting variety.  I’m starting it indoors, along with a few other seeds as I’m desperate to start sowing stuff but common sense is telling me that it’s still too cold to sow outside for most things.

And I’d say out with the old, but I’ve still got plenty of broccoli growing on the plot.

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I’m not sure of the exact variety as they were donated to me, but I know they’re a white sprouting variety which takes around 44 weeks to crop.  For ages I thought it was a failed crop but I left it in as it was keeping the weeds down.  I didn’t realise that they had such a long growing period!

I’m enjoying eating something fresh at a time of year when I don’t have anything to harvest on the plot besides herbs but I need to find more interesting ways of cooking it other than boiling or steaming.  Otherwise, my freezer will soon be full of broccoli!

In other news, I finished the top I started last Monday.  Pictures to come soon!